People hate what they fear.
Progressive voters could be forgiven for feeling a little taken aback when hearing the vitriol Hillary Clinton spewed about them to her wealthy donors at a fundraiser as revealed in an audio file that was leaked last week. After all, this is the woman who billed herself as the champion of the progressive agenda, who just last July said, “I take a back-seat to no one when you look at my record on standing up and fighting for progressive values,” suddenly describing herself as politically “center left to center right,” and dismissing the Democrats calling for tuition-free college and universal healthcare as petulant children who “live in their parents’ basement.”
It’s always emotionally abrasive to overhear someone saying nasty things about you behind your back, especially when they’ve been going out of their way to cozy up with you to your face. The Clinton campaign has been going out of its way to ingratiate itself to Sanders supporters, going on and on and on about party unity and “stronger together” and doing everything they can to try and minimize the vast chasm of distance between Hillary and Bernie’s political history and ideology, and now we hear her openly spitting on them for a few bucks of campaign funding from rich Democrats.
And when they’re making fun of you for being impoverished, when it’s her family’s neoliberal policies that helped create your situation in the first place?
It makes perfect sense if you’ve been paying attention, though. The reigning elites of the Democratic party (read: the Clintons and their lackeys) are terrified of the great progressive awakening that Bernie started. And to quote a certain wise old muppet, “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
And suffering they are. It’s surely a psychologically uncomfortable experience to always be frantically scrambling to hide the truth while trying to win over a demographic you despise. Why are they fearful, though?
They’re fearful because progressives have the ability to take away every single thing they’ve spent their entire political careers working toward. The spread of corporate dominance reinforced by political and military might and the globalization of the Wal-Mart economy are agendas that the Clintons have been inextricably involved in for decades, and many a cushy power position has been awarded to people within the Democratic establishment who’ve helped to facilitate those agendas.
And all that goes out the window if the progressives refuse to fall in line with those neoliberal agendas. That’s why they’ve been working so hard to try and lull the progressive awakening back to sleep, assuring us that nothing’s wrong, that the rigged primary is perfectly normal and that Hillary is just Bernie with nicer hair: if progressives start rocking the boat and refusing to elect candidates who won’t tax the rich, care for the poor, avoid war, oppose exploitative trade deals and push hard to eliminate wealth disparity, that whole house of cards comes tumbling down, and all the promises that the Clintons have made to their wealthy financiers will suddenly become a dangerous liability.
Progressives are to the Democratic party what Christians are to the Republican party. You know how Donald Trump has to go around pretending that he reads the Bible until November? He does that for the same reason Hillary pretends she cares about poor people. The Democrats need the political left to win elections; if they start courting the conservative vote instead they’ll just replace the crumbling GOP and become the new conservative party, leaving a gaping political hole on the left to be filled by the Greens or a new progressive party.
But the major difference between progressives and Christian conservatives is that if Trump ever drops the ball and says maybe women should be allowed to do what they want with their bodies, he’ll immediately lose the support of the Christian right, and he’ll never get reelected. Progressives are far less pushy and entitled, and it’s killing us.
It’s time for progressives in America to grow a spine. If we want universal healthcare and tuition-free college, we need to refuse to elect a nominee who hates those things and insist on candidates who support them.
If we want an end to corporatist war and predatory trade agreements, we need to refuse to elect a candidate who has loved them throughout her entire career and push for candidates who oppose them.
If we want a candidate who supports us and everything we stand for, we need to refuse to vote for a candidate who hates us and everything we stand for.
We need to stop falling in line with people who hate us and push hard for what we want because they’re sure not going to hand it to us. They’ve got far too much invested in holding us down.
[Featured Image by AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster]